Finding out you’re pregnant is a moment full of many emotions whether it’s planned or not. Most individuals have many emotions running through their minds from excitement to fear. If you already have a child, you will have to spend time helping them get used to the idea of having a new sibling. Some kids will naturally be excited, but others might be upset and develop some behavioral problems as a result. You just have to be there for them and let them know they’re loved every step of the way.
Be Honest With Them and Read Books Together
It’s important to be honest with your child about what to expect. You’re going to want to tailor those conversations to age-appropriate ones so they’re able to understand. If your child is a little bit older, explain to them that there will be a lot of crying and changing diapers and that mommy and daddy will be tired a lot, but remind them how important and special they are to you.
If you’re not sure how to have this conversation, finding age-appropriate books can help you get that conversation going. Books can help them get excited about being a sibling, but they can also open their eyes to what they should expect in the days after the new baby comes home. Your child will likely have a lot of questions and it’ll be important to answer those questions as truthfully as you can to avoid any confusion.
Involve Them in the Process of Prepping
Most children love being a helper. Involving them in the process of picking out baby clothes, or decorating the nursery are just some things that can get them more excited about having a sibling. You can use a gender predictor and make a game of it to have them pick what they think the baby’s sex is.
When you do go to find out what the gender of the baby is, you can keep it a surprise and then have a gender reveal party. Put someone you trust over the gender results and allow them to plan a party accordingly. Then once the gender is revealed, you and your child will be surprised together.
Encourage Them to Talk About Their Feelings
Some children enjoy the idea of being an only child. Talk of a new baby could stress them out and make them feel like they’re being replaced. Encourage your child to and validate everything they have to say.
Don’t ever get upset with your child for feeling any way that they’re feeling. Give them the spotlight and actively listen to everything. When they’re done talking, reassure them and let them know you appreciate their honesty.
Make Time to Spend With Your Children
Your child might be worried that they’ll never have time to spend with you once the baby comes. No matter what, you need to plan a special time with your child. If you’re not feeling well and don’t feel like leaving the house, you can pop some popcorn and have a movie night and pretend you’re at the movie theater. It’s okay to get creative because what matters is you’re spending time with your child and making them feel important. Even when the baby arrives, keep these regular occurrences going and spend the time with them as much as possible.
Have a Plan for Your Hospital Stay
When you have the baby, you’re likely to spend at least a couple of nights away from your home. You need to have a solid plan in place for your older child. Explain to your child what is going to happen and why. Reassure them that they’re going to be with someone they trust and it won’t be for a long time. Let them know you’ll talk to them every chance they get, and when it’s time, they’ll get to come to meet their new sibling.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be both exciting and scary for everyone involved. Older children can feel hurt because the thought of no longer being an only child can be very upsetting. Love them extra harder during these challenging times and let them know it’s okay and you’re here for them always.
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